Eduardo Paolozzi

British sculptor and print-maker, born in Edinburgh of Italian parents.

He attended evening classes in Edinburgh in order to become a commercial artist; in 1945-7 be studied sculpture at the Slade School of Art (then in Oxford), and in 1947 had his first one-man show.

He was in Paris between 1947 and 1949, absorbing surrealist ideas and method’s and beginning to make his long series of collages of found imagery from magazines and technical and scientific publications which later caused him to he classed with top artists.

In 1949, he worked in London, rapidly becoming known as a resourceful young artist working in two and three dimensions.

In 1950, he received the first of many public commissions, for a fountain for the Festival of Britain South Bank exhibition. In the 1950s he was a member of the Independent Group at the Institute of Contemporary-Arts, joining in the Group’s debates about popular imagery in art and the media and contributing to exhibitions exploring this area. He taught in London art schools, and went on to teach outside Britain, on both sides of the Atlantic, becoming especially well known in West Germany where in 1981 he was appointed professor of sculpture at the Munich Academy, a post he was able to combine with teaching sculpture at London’s Royal College of Art. He was made a Royal Academician in 1978 and knighted in 1089.

His sculpture has varied greatly in process, form, material and imagery, sometimes responding to the new tendencies of the time, sometimes detached from them, hut always revealing personal factors. Among these are the urge to question honoured images while exploring disregarded mass media images of yesterday and today. They also include an interest in humanity’s confrontation with the Machine: robot figures, convoluted machine-like compositions as freestanding sculptures and as reliefs (the latter at times made from discarded offcuts: rubbish organized to take on machine characteristics).

In the 1960s, he made human images with relief surfaces formed by a multitude of accretions and impressions which gave them a distressed and decayed look.

In the 1980s, he again turned to heads and figures, more classical now but disrupted and broken open as were the heads he cut and collaged from magazines in the 1950s.

Behind them all lies continuous study of images of man from the ancient Greeks’ to Rembrandt’s and William Blake’s: Paolozzi’s, some of them portraits and self-portraits, are by these means charged with energy and also a modern quality of transience.

Some of his work, notably in 1960s, was smooth and new-born in appearance; much of it since has looked found, archeological, a modern art that has been rediscovered in some future age to remind the world of 20th century concerns.

Paolozzi has had many one-man exbibitions since 1947; from 1960 these were often abroad.

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